Sharks explode to put out Flames' playoff hopes

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Sharks explode to put out Flames' playoff hopes

March 23, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHLSCOREBOARD
SAN JOSE (AP) Patrick Marleau has scored more goals than anyone in San Jose history so seeing him score twice was no surprise for the Sharks. Getting the first two-goal game of Torrey Mitchell's career and the first goal ever from Andrew Desjardins was a different story.Marleau scored the final two goals in San Jose's four-goal first period and Mitchell also scored twice as the Sharks closed in on second place in the Western Conference by beating the sliding Calgary Flames 6-3 on Wednesday night."It's great to have everybody contribute," Marleau said. "We'll need more of that coming down the stretch. It's the way we're built and it's the way things should happen. Everybody should have fun scoring goals."
VIDEO: Patrick Marleau postgame
Logan Couture also scored as the Pacific Division-leading Sharks got goals from all four lines to win their fourth straight game. San Jose increased its division lead over Phoenix to three points with a game at hand.
VIDEO: Logan Couture postgame
San Jose is also only one point behind Detroit for second in the conference and home-ice advantage in the first two rounds after the Red Wings lost 2-1 to Vancouver earlier Wednesday."We knew they had lost," forward Ryane Clowe said. "I don't know if that was extra motivation or anything. They're definitely in striking distance. We have an opportunity to jump into second and get that home ice. It gives us something to strive for right now. The way we're playing we have a good chance to pass them."
VIDEO: Ryane Clowe postgame
The Sharks dealt another blow to the Flames' playoff hopes. Calgary got goals from Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque and Cory Sarich, but lost for the sixth time in seven games.The Flames are two points behind Anaheim for eighth place in the West, but have played three more games than the Ducks, giving them little room for error in their final six games."We've been in a little bit of a rut in our last five or six games," Iginla said. "We're not coming out and playing as confident or assertive as we need to. In the first period to give up four goals is not going to win you many games. It's unacceptable. Obviously it's a tough loss at this time of year."Calgary's previous two losses came in overtime, but the Flames were unable to earn a point in this game. They trailed 5-3 heading into the third. After an early fight between Clowe and Sarich provided a little excitement, Antti Niemi came up with key saves. The Sharks then put it away midway through the period.Couture, who had to be helped off the ice with a scary right leg injury in San Jose's previous game, beat Miikka Kiprusoff on a 2-on-1 break for his 28th goal with 8:05 remaining.Niemi made 22 saves to get the victory in his 29th consecutive start.The teams traded goals in the second period as the Sharks maintained the two-goal lead they held after the first. Bourque beat Niemi with a backhand, wraparound midway through the period to draw the Flames within one.But Calgary fell back behind by two when Mitchell got to a loose puck after a scramble in front of the net and knocked it in for his ninth goal of the season with 6:40 left in the period. Mitchell has five goals in seven games after scoring just 16 in his first 189 as he has clicked on a line with Joe Pavelski and Kyle Wellwood."It's amazing when you start to feel it and you feel comfortable and confident on the ice, things happen for you," coach Todd McLellan said.
VIDEO: Todd McLellan postgame
The Sharks used their highest-scoring first period in more than two years to jump out to a 4-2 lead. The teams alternated on the first four goals before Marleau struck with two in the final 5:01 to give San Jose the lead.On the first he raced to a loose puck near the blue line and beat his former San Jose teammate, Kiprusoff, with a backhand for his 30th of the season and 350th in his career. Marleau added his second less than 3 minutes later when he knocked a rebound into the open net for a power-play goal with Alex Tanguay in the box for holding.The four goals were the most in a first period for San Jose since also scoring four against Toronto on Dec. 2, 2008."We got off our game and fundamentally had some breakdowns," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "They took advantage of it. They are a very good hockey team. We can't play that way for the rest of the season."Notes: San Jose's final eight games of the season will be against division foes, including three against Phoenix. ... Calgary D Jay Bouwmeester played in his 500th consecutive game, the longest current streak in the league. ... Flames F Greg Nemisz, a first-round pick in 2008, made his NHL debut and was on the ice for San Jose's first two goals.

Lynch 'soaking up the system', easing into Raiders OTA practices

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Lynch 'soaking up the system', easing into Raiders OTA practices

ALAMEDA – Marshawn Lynch didn’t bring his helmet to Tuesday’s OTA practice. Didn’t need it then, or on Monday.

Not for a cameo appearance during individual drills. The veteran running back wasn’t available during team sessions, and spent most of the two-hour practice working in the team’s performance center.

Lynch skipping full-speed work isn’t cause for alarm. First of all, it’s May. Second, Lynch is in great shape but still ramping back up after a season away from NFL football. It would make sense to ease him back in during the spring.

Head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t say when Lynch’s activity would increase, but wasn’t concerned one bit about Lynch’s limited OTA participation – he routinely skipped them while playing in Seattle -- and praised the Oakland native’s level of involvement in the Raiders offseason program since a new contract was worked out and his rights were acquired from Seattle on April 26.

“He’s coming along. He’s doing great. There are no issues there,” Del Rio said. “He has been here like he said he would. He has really been committed. He said, ‘Coach, this is home for me. It’s not like I’m going home and I won’t be here. He is committed to being here and is excited to be a Raider. We’re excited to have him.”

Lynch was on the practice field for some team periods analyzing plays with offensive teammates, and was working out with them after the session. Del Rio didn’t delve into when Lynch’s on-field activity would increase, but there’s no reason to rush a veteran player who ultimately must be ready come September.

“He’s doing great,” Del Rio said. “He’ll continue to do the things we’re asking him to do. He is really soaking up the system, and has done a great job fitting in.”

That’s clear. He gets on well with left tackle Donald Penn and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, and gravitates toward fellow former Seahawks like edge rusher Bruce Irvin and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. General manager Reggie McKenzie said last week Lynch was already entrenched in the Raiders locker-room culture, which was evident in how teammates talked about him.

“Getting Marshawn has been great,” Penn said. “He brings a lot of energy here and a lot of momentum. It feels good having him here. We joke around a lot, having fun. You all probably don’t know Marshawn, but he’s a pretty funny guy. He’s really cool, and it’s good having him around here.”

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Marlins-A's coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After missing four games, Yonder Alonso is back in the lineup as the A's begin a series against the Marlins Tuesday night.

Miami Marlins:
1. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton (R) RF
3. Christian Yelich (L) CF
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) DH
5. Justin Bour (L) 1B
6. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
7. Derek Dietrich (L) 3B
8. J.T. Riddle (L) SS
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) LF
Jose Urena -- RHP

Oakland A's:
1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Mark Canha (R) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) DH
7. Stephen Vogt (L) C
8. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Jesse Hahn -- RHP